Our Dogs World 101

Whats It Like Owning an English Mastiff

An English Mastiff dog is a dog that can hang out with you and watch your favorite TV show they’re just a good family pet.

A lot of people ask me what its like owning an English Mastiff and I think the closest comparison I can make is that the English Mastiff are a lot like children, especially the young pups.

An English Mastiff matures a lot slower than other breeds and as such you also need to go a little easier with them as they are an extremely sensitive dog and are very in tune to your needs.

They are going to pay a lot of attention to your body language and your voice for both training and corrections in their behavior.

One of the most important things when owning an English Mastiff is making sure that their temperament is stable.

The English Mastiff is a great pet as they are very gentle and extremely loyal to family members, and despite their size are great with kids!

Do English Mastiffs Make Good Pets?

The Mastiff is very well-known as what I like to call a Velcro Dog, in that they just love to be with their owners.

My Mastiff who is a female and weighs a little over 78kg often thinks she is a lap dog and will always try to sit on my lap when watching TV.

Mastiffs are a dignified yet good-natured dog.

Saffron (My Mastiff Girl) is loving and affectionate and because of the Mastiffs calm character are great play mates for children.

Because of their size I really wouldn’t recommend them for families with toddlers as they tend to forget their own strength and size.

A lot of people think they need a huge property to own one of these breeds.

I am lucky as I live within walking distance to the beach and have a fairly good size yard, however I have some friends who live in city apartments who also own this breed and their dogs are just as happy as mine.

As long as you socialize them with both people and other dogs and exercise them daily, they are just as happy in an apartment as they would be in the country.

Are All Mastiff Breeds the Same?

There are several types of Mastiffs and they all originated from the Molossus
which was a breed of dog from the ancient Greek times and were used by the Romans in war times.

Over the times the breed was refined a bit and the ones that ended up as English Mastiffs were bred especially for guarding castles.

Ultimately what they wanted was a dog that was big, looked intimidating but would also be friendly to all those that lived within the castle walls.

The English Mastiff has been around for hundreds of years, however not many people know that during World War 2 the breed came close to extinction because people were doing it hard.

Food was hard to come by and because of the amount of food this dog eats people could no longer afford to keep them.

It is said that the breed was bought back through the St Bernard which is why some English Mastiffs have features a lot like them.

So, some other breeds of Mastiffs related to the English Mastiffs are:

Bullmastiff – This is a cross between the English Bulldog and the English Mastiff which was first bred in around the 1830’s.

Italian Mastiff – Otherwise known as the Neapolitan Mastiff.

French Mastiff – Also called Dog De Bordeaux.

Brazilian Mastiff – More commonly known as Fila Brasileiro’s

All Mastiffs are bred to be large; they are the largest breed of dog in the world by weight.

How Big Can an English Mastiff Get?

While the English Mastiff isn’t as tall as the Great Dane, they are a lot bigger in stature and weight.

So, when I am talking about how big can an English Mastiff get, I am talking purely about weight.

Female English Mastiff’s can weigh between 150lbs(68kg) up to 180lbs(80kg) although I do have a friend whose female weighs close to 250lbs(113kg) and is a top-quality show dog.

The male breed weighs between 180lbs(80kg) up to 230lbs(105kg).

The world record is held by a dog named Zorba who was in England, and he weighed in at a whopping 343lbs(155kg) and was in exceptional shape when he broke that record.

Zorba the worlds largest dogZorba even at this weight lived to be about 13 years old, and for a Giant Breed like the Mastiff is a long life as the average life expectancy for this breed is somewhere between 8 and 10 years old.

What Health Issues Do You Get with An English Mastiff?

The main health issues in the past were probably hip dysplasia and the good breeders around the world have done a great job in bringing in certifications to make sure this is no longer an issue.

Because of the sheer size of the breed, they can also be susceptible to heart issues.

Awhile back there was a blindness issue that came about called PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) however with some really great scientific research breeders are now able to get their dogs tested to ensure they don’t have that disease.

If you are going to own an English Mastiff you MUST exercise them as they can easily get overweight, and this really can put a strain on their heart.

Bloat is also somewhat of an issue with this breed, and it usually occurs at a later age.

Socializing Your Mastiff

Your Mastiff will need to be socialized a lot!

This breed can tend to be shy if they have not been around people, other dogs and properly socialized and you never want to own a big dog that is shy.

I can’t stipulate enough, if you are thinking of getting this breed how important it is to correctly socialize this breed.

I take my girl everywhere with me, I take her to the shops, cafes, when I go to the park to watch the football, my daughter playing netball, to the beach. Pretty much everywhere I go, she goes!

Along with socialization you need to make sure your Mastiff has basic obedience training because there is nothing worse than having a Giant breed dog that is out of control.

Taking Care of Your Mastiff

As far as grooming your Mastiff goes it is quite easy.

They are a short haired dog and do shed, however they don’t need to be brushed that often.

With Saffron, I often just wet a towel and wipe that over her coat which easily removes any loose hair.

Regarding their diet, I would always recommend going with what the breeder recommends.

My girl has been bought up on American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato grain free dry dog food with some Yumwoof
toppers as this is what my breeder recommended and is the perfect diet for the Giant breed.

You are getting a purebred Giant breed and their diet will be a lot different to that of a normal size dog.

When you get a young pup, you don’t want to overwork them or have them doing any sort of jumping as their growth plates and bones have not developed fully. Due to their size even at a very young age you can cause your dog some serious hip and joint issues as they grow older.

The Mastiff Wrap Up

I love Mastiffs, to me they are the Kings of the dog world.

What the lion is to the cat, the English Mastiff is to the dog.

For me this breed is the biggest and coolest dog around and their sweet nature just tops off this perfect breed.

The amount of people I have met simply from being out with my Mastiff is unreal. People are naturally drawn to this breed and the feeling of love that these people have toward your dog is surreal.

Saffron brings me love, laughter and so much fun everyday (Really, what dog doesn’t do that?) and if it is a giant breed you are looking at getting I would definitely recommend you get an English Mastiff.

These dogs are not for first time dog owners and you will need to ensure you affirm alpha status straight away as if allowed to do so (And they will test you) they will become the owner of you!

Just because the English Mastiff looks intimidating to people on the outside it really doesn’t mean that they are scary or dangerous dogs.

They are a loyal, loving and very protective breed of their family and their home, but correctly socialized they maybe aloof with people at times but will love everyone as they love you.

If you own an English Mastiff we would love to hear from you and hear of your experiences living with the Giants of the dog world.

From my girl Saffron, “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”


Founder of Our Dogs World 101


12 thoughts on “Whats It Like Owning an English Mastiff”

  1. HI, Mark. This looks like a beautifyl dog and would make the perfect companion.  I always worry about big dogs….mainly because they don’t live as long as smaller dogs and it’s hard to say good-bye after too short of  a time together.  With a dog this large, if you don’t work hard to socialize it,  it may cause you a lot of problems down the road.  That said, this is a dog breed worth investigating.  Sounds like a great partner!  Thank you.  Warren

    1. Hi Warren,

      I have had the English Mastiff breed most of my life and you are right, they really dont live long enough for such a gentle giant. But then again no dog lives long enough and as Dbrae mentioned I wish they could live as long as us!

  2. Mastiffs are certainly magnificent dogs. Along with the St. Bernard and German Shepherd, they have been a consideration for a long time. Like Warren wrote, I too love big dogs but also hesitate to consider owning one due to life expectancy. I’ve had average-sized labs/lab mix earlier in my life, and I always wish they could live longer (forever!) when compared to smaller dogs. They still lived long active lives for their breed, though, so that’s just me.

    Mark, great article highlighting the Mastiff!

    1. I’m with you, dogs don’t live long enough and wouldn’t it be great if they lived as long as we did!

      Along with my English Mastiff I also have a black lab.

      Thanks for the great comments.


  3. Dogs are amazing. English Mastiffs are one of my favorite breeds. It’s great that you share so much info on the breed. Knowing what you are getting into before bringing any pet home is very important. Your post is all I would need to decide. Thank You for sharing your expertise. Saffron is a lucky girl and I am sure you feel the same about her. What a beautiful dog she is. 

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience about English Mastiffs It’s so nice that they stay with us watching our favorite shows. I am happy to learn that they’re wonderful companions who are calm, quiet, well mannered, and self-assured. And I am even happier that they tend to not bark as much as other breeds.

  5. Hi Mark, I love your website. It is now the second time I have visited because you provide such great information. Mastiff or Massive, haha. They are very big dogs. Do they eat a lot? It sounds like they have a lovely temperament and I am sorely tempted to get one. At the moment I am living in the city and I don’t suppose that would be a very good environment to bring them up in. But am planning to get out of the rat race soon, so will be looking for a furry friend to hang out with. As long as I can afford to fed him or her. My daughter is about to have a baby, so I worry a bit about the size. Are they good around babies and young kids?



    1. Hi Steve,

      So glad you enjoy my site and the information I try to provide.

      Love the Mastiff or Massive pun, it gave me a laugh.

      Because Mastiffs are bred to be a big dog mine does eat a lot more than your average dog, however because I feed mine a mostly raw diet it costs me a little over AUD$5 a day and is good quality meat I get from my butcher and fresh veges from our supermarket.

      You would be surprised how easy the English Mastiff is to raise in the city. I have a few friends that live in city apartments who own these gentle giants and they are fine.

      While they are super protective of babies and young kids you do need to watch them as they are so big and a little clumsy that they tend to knock young kids over.

      Wishing you luck as a Granddad and getting out of the rat race.


  6. Hi! I love dogs. This is a great article. Thank you for sharing your experience in owning one. If you don’t work hard to socialize a dog this size, it could give you a lot of difficulties down the road. It’s just sad that they don’t live as long, and it’s difficult to say goodbye. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. Saffron is a fortunate young lady, and I’m sure you agree. What a lovely puppy she is.

  7. Hi Mark. Thank you for very interesting article. Mastiffs are great, intelligent animals and great companions but their character and size require special attention especially at the beginning. Your post is brining so much valuable info I didn’t know about and I would love to use it with my new dog. I had no idea that they are shy and definitely I will focus more on socializing my pupil.

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